Did you give birth overseas? Share your stories - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 22 Old 07-02-2009, 12:42 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi all,


I've noticed on this forum that there are quite a few ex-pat mamas out there. So, I was wondering if any of you would like to share your interesting tidbits about your overseas birth.

Here's mine:

I gave birth to my ds in Korea and it was an interesting experience. After he was born I ate seaweed soup and rice for breakfast, lunch and dinner for 3 days. I was also given a bowl of pumpkin soup each night to help my milk come in.
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#2 of 22 Old 07-02-2009, 12:58 AM
 
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I was pregnant & gave birth in Costa Rica. Everyone kept sending home mangoes with my dh 'cause they're supposed to be good for pregnancy. I don't like mangoes - but it made our maid really happy!

Surviving sleep deprivation one day at a time with dd (Oct '11) & ds (Oct '08).

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#3 of 22 Old 07-02-2009, 03:14 AM
 
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My DD waas technically born overseas. I had her in Germany, but it was at a U.S. military facility. If I would have switched sooner, I could have been seen by a German OB/midwife, but by that time I was pushing 28 weeks. I did check out a birthing room at a krakenhaus in Rotenburg, it would have been totally amazing and relaxed. I had talked to another Armyy wife who was seeing a German OB, and I hear they treat you wonderfully, you feel spoiled by the time you leave with your baby. The only odd thing, is they encourage women to have a glass of beer (and I can't remember the brew, now, maybe Heffewiesen?) with dinner-- whichever one it was, it was high in nutrients and I think iron, too?

Angie, proud Army wife to Dan, mom to Kat (4/00) and Gracie (11/09)!!
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#4 of 22 Old 07-02-2009, 03:23 AM
 
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I had both kids in Germany (2 different hospitals). The hospitals were so relaxed and amazing. At one hospital, they had someone coming around to give massages. Breakfast was an all-you-can eat breakfast buffet with healthy fresh food. I gave birth in a gorgeous room with wide open windows with lots of greenery and birds chirping. It was heaven.


Katsmamajama - yes - its Hefeweisen beer - its got a lot of nutrients and is the best thing I've ever had for breastmilk supply. After I drank that beer postpartum, I would be able to a huge improvement in supply!
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#5 of 22 Old 07-04-2009, 09:56 PM
 
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Mmmm ... German heffeweisen is sooo yummy. It's a wheat beer, fwiw, and it doesn't really compare to most of the heffeweisen you find in the US.

It's good to hear the positive birthing stories about Germany. There's a possibility of us moving there for a few years and I always wondered in the back of my mind what birthing would be like there.

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#6 of 22 Old 07-06-2009, 06:53 PM
 
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I had my first dd in the US and my second in Slovenia. (The third will also be born in Slovenia.) It's not as relaxed here as in Germany or Austria -- there are no birth centers and homebirth with a midwife is still unheard of. But my experience was pretty good. Births take place in a maternity hospital staffed by midwives and doctors. The midwives handle things unless there are complications and then the doctor is called. In our case the doctor just poked his head in for a moment and the midwives handled everything else (it was fast and simple).

Just to show that you can't please everyone, many Slovenian women I know complain because the maternity hospitals don't routinely offer epidurals -- they seem to think this is a failing rather than a plus. (Epidurals are available, of course, but reserved for certain situations.)

You stay in the hospital for three days after the birth, rooming in with the baby. Lactation consultants, physical therapists, pediatricians, and gynecologists all make the rounds every day, so you get plenty of specialized attention. The nurses come around and change the baby's diapers the first two days so you can just rest up and nurse the baby. On the third day they make sure you can do the diapering and bathing yourself before they send you home.

One other interesting tidbit -- on my first OB appointment with DD2, the nurse was giving me some nutritional advice. One of her points was to be sure to eat a lot of horse meat for the high iron content. My Slovenian skills weren't great at that point so I wasn't quite sure I'd heard her correctly, but I discovered that I had -- horse meat is a delicacy here and freely available in shops and restaurants.

DD1 (Oct 99), DD2 (Sep 02), DD3 (Oct 09)
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#7 of 22 Old 07-06-2009, 11:07 PM
 
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My 4th daughter was born in a German hopsital. It was very relaxed and natural friendly. No IV/hep lock, intermittant monitoring, water birth in a big round birth tub, had birthing stool and kneeling pad in my room in case I chose to get out of the tub and wanted an upright birth position, encouraged being up and active in labor. No drugs or epidural were ever mentioned at any point. I arrived at the hospital at 4cm and the midwife said she would have sent me home if it hadn't been my 4th baby-good thing she let me stay because I was pushing 2 hours later. The midwife stayed with us continuously from the time I was admitted. Vitamin K and eye antibiotics were optional. If you did opt for Vitamin K (which we did), it was given orally instead of via injection. We could have gone home as soon as 6 hours after birth, but she was born at 5pm, so we chose to stay the night and went home the next morning. We were not bothered at all during the night. The nurse checked baby's temp and my uterus around 9:30 and then we didn't see anyone again until the next morning. The hospital beds had attachable side cars for the baby, so they even encouraged cosleeping. This was at a private hospital and I've heard the state hospitals are not as nice. I actually heard a few birth horror stories from the public hospital in the city where we lived.
Our landlady brought a big basket of fruit (and a bit of chocolate) after she was born and said that was the traditional gift for a new mom in Germany.

Jenny
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#8 of 22 Old 07-06-2009, 11:16 PM
 
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You are all making me want to move to Germany. Why can't we get this stuff figured out in America???

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#9 of 22 Old 07-07-2009, 11:14 AM
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My first 3 were born in Australia and I had very relaxed experiences. No ivs etc, left alone to labour in any positions, tubs etc. Very supportive. Natural child birth is not only supported, but encouraged.
Baby stays with Mum, newborn exam not rushed, baby gets to stay on Mum's chest unless showing signs of distress. My LO received a little help getting started on my chest. We did not bath baby until day 3 so no warmer needed. Dads welcome to sleep over and room in with you. Heaps of pp support. Free drop in clinic for babies aged newborn to 5 where you could get bub weighed and meet other Mums and talk to the midwives about any concerns with breast feeding or anything you needed to. The postpartum support I received was unbelievable. really great. The hospitals in my area all offered fantastic birthing centres right there on the labour and delivery floor so if you needed to transfer you simply walked across the hall! I really loved my hospital experiences in Aus. i am sure the system is not perfect but I was ever so lucky to have very positive experiences. I saw both midwives and OBs. Interestingly the same MW who helped me at hospital also attends home births. They do offer the vit K shot and pp pit but you can easily decline without being made to feel weird about it. My ob was amazing, very supportive and respectful of me throughout the pregnancy and birth. Oh and they offer the lovely gas and air as a pain management option!!

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#10 of 22 Old 07-09-2009, 06:33 AM
 
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My DS was born at home in our living room in England. The National Health Service paid for the whole thing.

Expat mama to my 7-year-old Halloween boy and my cheeky preschooler, who came before the midwife in January 2010... Gestating a new bean, debuting spring 2014!
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#11 of 22 Old 07-14-2009, 06:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks everyone for sharing your stories. It sounds like Germany is a very good place to give birth.

I didn't have a perfect birth. There were a few strange things that occured. When I was pushing my ds out, I had two nurses pushing on my belly. This action was akin to squeezing toothpaste out of the tube. I discovered later that pushing on the belly is common in Northeast Asia. I ended up with an epidural after hours of back labour. I was so tired by the time that I got to the delivery room that I didn't really feel or notice the nurses doing this. I guess they just wanted to speed up ds's birth. The nurses also kept shushing me to which I ignored.

I got to nurse him right away and ds roomed with my husband and I. So, I was happy with the end result.

After the birth, I received two types of therapy treatments during our 4 day
hospital stay. One was called pelvic therapy. I lay on a massage table that had two bumper things, one on either side of my hips. The bumper things press on and off against my hips in order to push my pelvic bones together. (sorry it is hard to explain) Meanwhile, my back was massaged automatically. I also had infrared vaginal treatments. Strange but true!
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#12 of 22 Old 07-15-2009, 03:35 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Astrogirl View Post
I had both kids in Germany (2 different hospitals). The hospitals were so relaxed and amazing. At one hospital, they had someone coming around to give massages. Breakfast was an all-you-can eat breakfast buffet with healthy fresh food. I gave birth in a gorgeous room with wide open windows with lots of greenery and birds chirping. It was heaven.


Katsmamajama - yes - its Hefeweisen beer - its got a lot of nutrients and is the best thing I've ever had for breastmilk supply. After I drank that beer postpartum, I would be able to a huge improvement in supply!

Thanks, Astrogirl! I never did acquire a taste for Hefeweisen-- I'm just not a beer-drinker, I guess. I'm hoping we can go back to Germany sometime, so I can get my German birth experience! :P

Angie, proud Army wife to Dan, mom to Kat (4/00) and Gracie (11/09)!!
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#13 of 22 Old 07-15-2009, 10:16 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Evie's Mama View Post
You are all making me want to move to Germany. Why can't we get this stuff figured out in America???
Because there is no money to be made for the shareholders of the hospital in it...Midwifery care is better for most women, costs less than half of what docs charge, and the hospital stay is usually not that good. Not to mention that midwifery care lowers the chances of iatrogenic complications, and unnecessary surgery... That's why it isn't the norm in the US. OBs have been working since 1910 or so, to make sure midwives are never the norm in the US, even though we are #42 among infant mortalilty in the world....
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#14 of 22 Old 07-30-2009, 01:34 PM
 
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I also gave birth at a German hospital (I just posted my birth story), but it was a little different than the ones you are all describing. I was really excited to try out their birthing suites--they had the balls, the bars, the birthing pools, the whole experience. I was really looking forward to it but I didn't get to try it out.

I was surprised by several things. While German obstetrics is SO much more progressive than American protocol, this hospital wasn't very father-friendly. I wound up being alone the first night while waiting for labor to progress and DH was sent home until morning. There was only one small, uncomfortable metal chair for him to sit in when I got to my room after the birth (we wound up bringing in a camp chair) and since it was a shared room, there were strict visiting hours. No privacy curtain AT ALL, so I witnessed my second roommate's labor experience (she labored in our room for several hours ) as well as an internal vaginal exam the following day.

I was also surprised that I was so unusual in keeping DD next to me all the time. It helped make the case to let me go home earlier than the 10 days they wanted to keep me, but apparently they expected the baby to be largely rooming in the nursery so Mom can get rest and go out for a cigarette. It didn't occur to me to leave her in there, even at night, though I'll admit I'm envious when I hear of other people who had DH or a doula there to help them care for the baby overnight after a c/section. But I'm tough... :

There were no bracelets or ID tags of any kind, and if the weather had been appropriate, we were encouraged to take the newborns out for a walk outdoors: "Zey love watching the trees, and it is gut for zem." Cord care was largely left to gently wiping it with olive oil and leaving it alone. Amazingly, DD's cord fell off after 3 days and looked fabulous. They also just use olive oil on cotton pads to clean the diaper area.

Since I was BFing, I was only given ibuprofen for pain after the crash c-section. The midwives were getting stingy with that, too, and I was down to 200mg/6 hours by the second day. I supplemented with ibuprofen from home!!

But in general, I loved the care I got there and wish I could have had the opportunity for a natural birth. I'm quite sure it would have been a great experience... but at least I have my daughter.
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#15 of 22 Old 07-30-2009, 02:34 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Wow, lots of great birth stories! Do any of you get asked whether your DC holds citizenship in the country of their birth? I get asked all the time whether my ds holds Korean citizenship since he was born there. (btw- he does not because neither my husband nor I are Korean.)
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#16 of 22 Old 07-30-2009, 03:14 PM
 
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Well the US is overseas for me! I've had two babies in the UK, though the 2nd almost ended up being in Korea, so I experience antenatal care there, then my 3rd was born in the US. My first two were vaginal in hospital (though both planned to be at home), then I had a scheduled c-section with my 3rd, it was a much better experience than the other two, mostly the postnatal stay rather than the actual delivery. I had a private room, my husband could stay with me, meals were brought to me rather than having to go and collect them, pain meds were brought in a timely fashion (common complaint from friend in the UK having c-sections), I had an electric bed. I've had antenatal stays of varying lengths in all 3 countries, US and Korea were fairly similar and way better than in the UK.

Anne, Christian mummy to Nathanael 05/28/03, Ada 06/10/05, Grace 05/24/09
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#17 of 22 Old 07-30-2009, 05:57 PM
 
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As far as citizenship goes, because DD was born in a German hospital (not a US facility in Germany), she does hold dual citizenship. That's pretty much teh only reason they're having any population stability at all! LOL
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#18 of 22 Old 11-20-2009, 12:39 AM
 
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All four of mine were born in Thailand. The first was a hospital birth center, the 2nd at home with an Aussie midwife, and my twins were a planned unassisted homebirth. Here's my twin birth story.

Missionary, birth-worker, midwifery student
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#19 of 22 Old 11-20-2009, 01:06 AM
 
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My two youngest dc were born in Germany - both homebirths with German midwives. The experiences were not much different from my homebirth in the US, except for the fact that all the costs were completely covered by our insurance.

We were told that we would have to stay in Germany for at least 8 years before our kids would be eligible for German citizenship.
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#20 of 22 Old 11-01-2010, 02:37 PM
 
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My 2nd was born in Romania. It was absolutely horrible. They are very much about hospital births there and very systematic and you do this and this and you don't question the doctor or they get mad at you. Bribery is quite common there but I didn't bother because they kept changing staff so often, I wouldn't know who to bribe. I'm thinking I should have bribed my sons doctor to let us leave sooner though. We were stuck there for 5 horrible days.

I've started the birth story but still haven't finished it. When it's done I'll post it in the birth story section.

You can legally UC in Romania but I didn't have any place to do it at sadly since I was living with my in-laws and they probably would have had a heart attack.

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#21 of 22 Old 11-01-2010, 04:51 PM
 
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I gave birth unassisted by choice in Japan. It was very nice. 2 people from the government office came to my house to interview us, basically to make sure I actually gave birth to the baby and didn't steal it or something, so we could get the proper paper work for the birth report. They were typically Japanese and were super polite and didn't want to take up much of our time. They just asked me to summarize the birth and why I chose to birth the way I did, and then said congratulations and left.

I also attended a couple of hb with Japanese midwives. It was fairly similar to a US hb, the mw's were a little hands on, and they were hot to trot to get the placenta out right away. With PP care you get a massage though!

Banana, doula wife to Papa Banana and mother to Banana One, Banana Two, Banana Three, Banana Four...

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#22 of 22 Old 11-03-2010, 01:00 PM
 
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Well, as I am Norwegian, I`ve never given birth anywhere else, so I don`t have anything to compare to, other than births I watched on the TV.

Homebirths are not common at all here, but some off course choose to.
Usually you give birth at a hospital near you.
They try to make everything as natural as possible.
It is the mothers choise to use any drugs/ epidural, the last years acupuncture is also used a lot. But it`s your choise.

If the birth goes forward without any complications you are free to move, use different positions, take a shower, no IV.
The midwife will not stay with you all the time, but check on your progress every now and then, and off course comes if you need her.
You give birth with the midwife only, doctors are called if complications.
When your baby arrives, he/she will get a shot of vitamin K, and the mother a shot that helps the uterus contract. (oxytocin?) The baby will not be given any eye drops. Immediately after birth you`ll have your baby on your tummy for a little while. They weigh and measure the baby, put on diapers and clothes, and you`ll get your baby back. They quickly put on the id on both leg and arm on the baby, and show it to you so you can check that the info is correct.

After an hour you are transferred to the after birth room, where your partner can stay with you. You can stay at the hospital as long as needed, usually not any longer than 3-4 days. If everything is OK, it`s usually not a problem to leave earlier, but they would prefer that you stay for about 4 hours/and the baby is seen by a doctor. You keep your baby with you all the time, and the staff are helpful with breastfeeding, and check how your uterus contract the first day or two if you stay that long. All women are really encouraged to breastfeed, about 80% of all norwegians breastfeed at least 6 months.
They advice not to bath the baby before most of the vernix is absorbed, and it is recommended to just use pure water and maybe some olive oil or baby oil. The umbilical cord is left alone if dry, if it is wet you are told to wash gently around the bottom with some antibacterial fluid and leave to dry.
We don`t cover it with anything, just leave it alone to heal and fall off.


And, both prenatal care, birth and beyond is totally free.
After birth your local health center follow up on breastfeeding, helps the new mother with any questions, measure and weigh your baby.
Most people I know of is happy with the prenatal care, the birth itself, and the care afterwards.


(Sorry for any wrong words here, it takes just sooo long to search on a translating site, so I`m just doing my best with the complicated words. )

Proud Norwegian mother of four intact boys, expecting a little baby May 2011!
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